M is for Manning – NXNE’s Only Residential Event
A house party at 159 Manning Ave has been a perennial hit at NXNE and is the festival’s only residential event. I took time on Friday to talk with Tim McCready and Jay Share-it about their yearly North by shows, their band Fill Spectre, and about what’s in the future for the M is for Manning crew.
Alright so I’m here with Tim McCready and Jay Share-it, and you guys live here at M is for Manning?
Tim McCready: 159 Manning.
So you guys have shows here all the time I guess?
TM: No, I just do New Year’s Eve and this, and occasionally I’ll throw something else. I did something with Jay here for CMW but it was only thrown together a week before and it was six bands in the living room. The reason I did it was I was contacted by Kapuano Records, they’ve got Les Marinellis, Les Deuxluxes, listened to the bands and they were great. I play in a band with Jay called Fill Spectre, and I knew that I wasn’t going to have Fill Spectre play the North by show because I didn’t want to have any bands that I play in. It’s all bands that have never played here before. When I heard the [Kapuano Records] bands, they were all Quebec bands, I thought “oh this is a perfect fit for Fill Spectre,” so I was willing to throw together a party within a week.
Jay Share-it – For a glorified practice.
TM – For a glorified Fill Spectre practice show, out in the living room. I have PA systems, I have all the gear here, I have the space here so I figure yeah, throw some bands out in the backyard. The first thing that people ask me is how I get away with this with my neighbours. Well I don’t do it very often, even for New Year’s Eve, and that goes all night usually to 6 am. I usually have tents in the backyard but all the music and programming is inside. Today I’m done at 11 pm for the BBQ so my neighbours know this is the only time I’m going to do this before New Year’s Eve, and I let them all in for free, you know, to keep things cool.
Nice little neighbourhood party.
They enjoy some of the notoriety it brings to the neighbourhood without, you saw when you came in, there’s security, and they’re making sure no one leaves with alcohol and people aren’t loitering on the street for too long. You know just making sure people are…
Just normal bar rules…
Exactly, just don’t cause problems for my neighbours and they’re not going to cause problems for me and…
JS – And easier than running a bar…
TM – I always advertise these parties as BYOB so the cops have no problem with it, it’s not like I’m running a speak-easy here, doing it once a month, or once a week, you know. I do this twice a year, and anything else I do it’s way smaller like 50 people, but I don’t usually. I have band practices here once a week for Fill Spectre.
JS – Good Enough
TM – I’m in a live karaoke band called Good Enough. We occasionally practice here but we usually book shows and we just play shows instead of practicing so I mean I usually don’t even have 5 people here.
How many songs do you play with the karaoke band?
We do about 300 songs. We’re playing at Yonge and Dundas on Sunday.
How long have you been doing M is for Manning shows?
This is my 6th year, the first year was 2009, I went to SXSW that year, and I was just impressed by how many day parties they had and the whole vibe there. I was inspired to do something here for NXNE, so the first year in the living room I had 5 bands and, the backyard was open but I had no bands back there, I cooked veggie burgers and sold $2 beers, not sure if I had admission. The next year I had a backyard stage, charged $10, the next year, I went way bigger. I did 3 stages, hired a caterer to do a pig roast, and I went all out and charged $30. What you can do with $30 a head, the food was free, once you came in, it was BYOB but I was selling beers for $3 but the food was included. I got a little bit of flak that year from people being like “Oh, $30! What a rip off! Why isn’t it free or why isn’t it $10,” but it’s like…
Don’t eat before you come.
TM – Well yeah but it’s like…
JS – There was way more bands and everything.
TM – There was 3 stages and so when people came that year they said, “how are you only doing this for $30 per person?” For the people who actually came and showed up. It was kind of a complete turnover of a crowd. I find now the age range is…
JS – All over.
TM – I find people in their 50s here, there’s people in their 20s here, people bring their babies here, you don’t really see one demographic here. Say the first year there was 100 or a 150 people, I knew all the faces here, even if I didn’t know everyone, I’d have still kind of seen them around the scene. Now I don’t know most of the people who show up, which is, well I’ve never seen you before…
TM – It’s fine, everyone is respectful.
JS – What you’d call the demographic; good vibrations.
TM – The comment I get from a lot of people is, “Oh, everyone is so nice here, everyone is being so nice to each other.”
JS – Imagine somewhere else, maybe they wouldn’t be.
TM – But here I feel people are appreciative and respectful of the fact that this is my home, this is a house, this isn’t some shithole dive that is just a party house every day. It’s like you can’t come here, not today, everyone can come here today but tomorrow, no, no one can come here tomorrow, because it’s a house. When you throw famous parties here people get the impression that it’s a party house but it’s not, so when people move in I say, listen, it’s gotta be chill, I have my private space, I can’t live in the middle of a party. And they get their party phase on and I’m like no.
I know, I’ve lived at party houses and I’ve done my time in party houses.
I know like say 8 years ago, that was fine for me here, but I’m 36 now. I mean, I do sound at parts and labour, I do odd jobs, I play in the karaoke band, I work in entertainment, I work in production and on all different sides.
JS – Very much a man about town
TM – A jack of all trades. It’s not interesting to me to have 10 people drinking at my house every day. I like my silence, but not today, today I want as many people here as possible
Just not every day.
Yeah, just not every day. And that’s what makes it special though. And when I do throw these parties, anyone can come.
Cool, yeah man, it’s a great time here. And I saw your sign: Don’t touch Tim’s books, cuz it’s your house. Be respectful.
And I do find, I’ve been here for 10 years, this is my 6th North by party, thrown 8 New Year’s Eve parties here
JS – Those are crazy but no that crazy.
TM – People are so surprisingly respectful. I’m happy it keeps growing. I do so many different projects and the karaoke band definitely resonates with a large number of people, a lot of people like Fill Spectre but it’s also a lot more niche, you know it’s garage rock, but it definitely gets a good reaction, but this is something, these parties for whatever reason resonate with so many people and it’s the biggest thing I do.
You’ve got a lot of different genres.
That’s intentional. I’m definitely trying to book as many different genres as possible so that it’s not representing one scene. A lot of times for shows you have the same four bands but they all sound exactly the same as each other.
JS – And you pigeon hole yourself.
TM – But I definitely don’t want to repeat any band twice here, I want it to be as diverse as possible. That’s my intention this year, the previous years I had Choir Choir Choir every year. I’m involved with them, I shoot video with them and sing with them. I had Buck 65 three years in a row, I had Biblical three years in a row, and Chris Murphy from Sloan had his different projects each year, so this year I decided. Jay has helped me the last three years with New Years and, I’m the mastermind but Jay is my right hand man.
JS – The Yes Man. [Jump] How high?
TM – Couldn’t do without him.
JS – Maybe harp on the open invite, I think you should plug New Year’s.
TM – New Year’s Eve will be the next big party here, so I don’t know what I’m going to do yet but…
JS – Who knows what’s gonna happen!
TM – I’ll think about that next week. Every six months but I have these parties. I’ve been in talks with a large venue in the city about doing something every six months. Like, three months from now I could do it and then six months after that so I can sort of expand the idea of doing it outside of 159 Manning. They’re a big enough venue that they have the main room and they have the side room to kind of go back and forth. It hasn’t been confirmed but I’m in talks about that. Do what I do but off site. Here there’s the whole set up for the party, all the planning all the execution, and then there’s cleaning up afterwards, that’s a whole endeavour of itself just cleaning up after, but the house always ends up cleaner than I started so that’s one good thing about it.
Did you want to say anything else about it?
JS – Come out New Year’s Eve.
TM – Come New Year’s Eve.